There has been an increasing trend in the use of stainless steel alloys instead of carbon steel for subsea flowlines and production systems during the last 15 years in the oil industry. Even if this normally is a more robust solution compared to the use of carbon steel insofar as internal corrosion problems are concerned, the use of stainless steels has led to leakage, production shutdown and expensive repair work. The reported failures were associated with hydrogen entrapment resulting from welding and/or external cathodic protection (CP), combined with a certain stress/strain level. Atomic hydrogen entering the alloy can weaken the mechanical strength of the alloy, cause cracks and destroy the integrity of equipment or a system. Such failures attributed to hydrogen induced stress cracking (HISC) are clearly not acceptable from the perspective of safety, environmental hazard and cost. Leading oil and engineering companies and supplier industry have pointed out HISC as one of the major obstacles against safe operation of stainless steel subsea pipelines and production systems. It is important for the oil industry to have design guidelines and reliable test method(s) for qualification and safe utilization of subsea pipelines and components made from the actual stainless steels. This paper describes a test method that has been developed through a Joint Industry Project (JIP) executed by SINTEF and Det Norske Veritas (DNV) with support from leading oil companies and material suppliers. The method has been qualified for use on 13% Cr super martensitic (SMSS) and 22% Cr / 25% Cr duplex stainless steels (DSS/SDSS). The link to DNV-RP-F112 [1] will also be described.

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